Kulina, Madija in Peru

Kulina, Madija
Photo Source:  Jim & Cindy Boyer 
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People Name: Kulina, Madija
Country: Peru
10/40 Window: No
Population: 500
World Population: 4,400
Primary Language: Kulina
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 12.00 %
Evangelicals: 11.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South American Indigenous
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Culina people suffered heavily during the genocide and enslavement of the rubber boom in the early 1900s, causing them to flee from further human contact into the remote jungle. In the 1950s, SIL missionaries helped the Culina recover from a severe measles epidemic and have since completed the translation of the New Testament. Missions agencies have worked extensively with the Culina both in Brazil and Peru, having focused on church planting and the equipping of potential leaders through discipleship institutes and Bible schools.

However, the Culina church remains in initial stages of development. While there are Culina believers in various villages, only one church exists, and it rarely meets on its own. There is a real lack of discipleship and nurturing of people's faith, so their spiritual maturity remains low.

Where Are they Located?

The Culina live on the upper Purus River as it crosses the border with Peru and Brazil.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Culina live a daily subsistence lifestyle oriented around farming, hunting, and fishing. Their principal crops include plantains, yucca, and bananas.

Song plays an important role in Culina culture. During the traditional "Command Party," women go house to house, singing a song that tells the men to go fishing. While the men fish, the women harvest manioc. In the evening, the women sing another special song as the men drop their fish on banana leaves, ready for the women to prepare.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Culina hold to animistic views that seek to discover spiritual causes for life problems and resolve them through shamanistic rituals. Shamanism is particularly strong among the Culina, where the people are accustomed to viewing the shaman as a helpful mediator to the spirit world and using plants not only for their medicinal qualities but also for their magical qualities.

What Are Their Needs?

The Culina's remote jungle location leaves them with no means of income or economic development. The people instead depend on government aid programs that benefit children and the elderly, but they have not developed many local resources beyond small subsistence gardens.

The Culina have limited access to health care, as the health clinics in their area are not well supplied and can be too far away or too expensive to service people's needs. Most people rely instead on spiritual healers or shamans to care for their families.

The Culina people need evangelism, discipleship, and leaders who are empowered by God and courageous in the face of slander or threats from the shamans. Since most people's lives are driven by fear of the shaman and malicious spirits, believers simply incorporate Jesus and prayers into their shamanistic beliefs and practices.

The Culina church needs a worldview that presents Jesus' active power today as an alternative to living under the dominion of fear and evil spirits.

Prayer Points

* Pray for several young couples who are studying in a Bible Institute in the jungle city of Pucallpa, Peru.
* Pray for the current church leaders and the next generation of Culina believers to take advantage of opportunities to study the Bible and receive biblical training.
* Pray for ministry efforts trying to reach the Culina people along various rivers in Brazil.

Text Source:   Pioneers